How To Effectively Connect With Alumni In Your College Search
One of the best ways to narrow down your college decision process is to connect with alumni.
Experts say that while there is a plethora of resources and information about college programs online, connecting with alumni can help give applicants a personal perspective into what a specific college has to offer.
TARGET NEW ALUMNI
If you’re intent on connecting with alumni to learn more about a college, Witte and Sorensen recommend reaching out to new alumni who have graduated within the last few years.
“While older alumni can certainly provide insight, the advantage of talking to new alumni is that they will provide more up-to-date information about the institution,” Witte and Sorensen write for US News.
Platforms such as LinkedIn allow you to filter your searches and narrow down results for alumni that align to your career interests and professional goals.
“If you plan to major in a scientific field, for example, it may be more sensible to search for alumni who hold science degrees,” Witte and Sorensen write.
Experts advise applicants to keep their message short and direct when reaching out to alumni.
“Be very clear what you’re asking for — a 15 minute phone call? A brief email correspondence? A 30 minute meetup near their office? By keeping your request clear and time constrained, you show respect for their busy schedule,” T.J. Duane, Co-Founder at BrightCrowd, writes in a blog post.
If an alumnus is open to connecting with you, be sure to ask open-ended questions that will help you understand what a specific school has to offer.
“Pay special attention to what an alumnus says about the factors that matter to you but that typically do not appear in official college publications,” Witte and Sorensen write. “No school will advertise the disadvantages of attending there, so it is wise to ask about safety, campus culture, friendliness of staff and any other factors a school would probably not discuss openly.”
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